by Carol Williams
Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia (5-leafed), in the grape family (Vitaceae) is a broad-leaf vine found throughout eastern and central North America, from southern Canada to eastern Mexico and Guatemala, and in Mobile. Virginia creeper grows along the ground in woodlands, often growing up trees, fences, or even houses. In the fall, Virginia creeper offers dramatic red colors in its shiny 5-leaf clusters often with blue-colored berries. Virginia creeper is sometimes mistaken for poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) because of its similar growth habit and size of the leaves, but poison ivy always has only three leaflets. Leaves of three, leave them be!